“Bye Maa … Love you.”
I uttered and turned towards the basketball court when I heard a voice from behind…
I turned with a smile and said, “Yes dear, you are excused.”
“Can you take me to your head coach.” She asked.
While she was asking for help I saw her form head to toe. I found her strange among all as she was wearing a salwar suit. I had many questions to ask but kept quiet. I took her to the head coach and then got ready to play. We were playing when the game was interrupted by our head coach who told us about that girl. She was none other than the state captain of Madhya Pradesh and the biggest rival of mine. She had changed into sportswear by then. But the ego I had as a captain was not allowing me to start a conversation.
I ignored her and told my coach that she had captained in my absence. I turned saying sarcastically, let’s see who will hold the captain’s cap this time.
Coach saw jealousy in my eyes and asked us to resume the match. The days went by.
My hatred for her increased with time. I was the favorite of coaches but her presence was disheartening for a budding player like me who had a different level of prestige. It was finally the day when the captain for the team would be decided. I was the most exited amongst all but that day was not mine. That was also the day when my academic results were out. I scored 74%, which was quiet disappointing. I directly reached basketball complex from school. I was late. Everyone was waiting for me. I reached the court, drank water, bowed in front of the coach and was ready to play. It was me playing in front of my biggest rival. It was a time for me to prove myself.
I gave my whole and sole to the game. At a peak point of the game she was holding the ball. I had to win by hook or by crook. I asked my companion to follow her and decided to push her from back. I pushed her hard but as the world knows, cheaters fall deeper. My plan left me into the pit of injury. By mistake I was slammed by a player of my own team and after that injury I was even unable to stand.
A 6th player was asked to take my position. I was unable to have an eye contact with anyone. I bowed my head down and put hands on my face. After the match, as the results were not in our favor I was deeply gutted. I gave the credit of these things to my destiny. I was sitting alone and crying when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was she. Yes she, my biggest rival. I turned back with tears in my eyes and said, “Yes!!! It’s you. The winner. Enjoy. I am zero and it’s accepted. Please leave me alone. It’s a request.”
“Hey, it’s okay. Just leave it.” She beamed.
“Leave! I have to leave everything as I am zero not because I lost to you but because I lost to my destiny.” I screamed loudly.
She calmly replied, “Oh dear. Come on, just tell me what happened to your destiny today?”
I started, “Ahhhhh! It wasn’t my day today. It started with an average result in academics and a lot of scolding and ended with a loss in sport. Don’t you think this day was terrible?”
She smiled. “If this was a bad day then I must admit I didn’t ever get a good day because I was 12 when I was asked to stop my studies. Then I was not allowed to wear shorts and come for basketball. I belonged to a highly conservative family. My father was against all this but I took everything as a challenge and here I stand.”
Hearing her, I was all blank. I hugged her and cried. She was a perfect example of hard work and passion. I was sorry for my behaviour. The very same day the basketball results were declared. Due to my spirit and good performance throughout the game, I was chosen as the captain. She was the happiest among all. I went to my coach and stepped back from captaincy to make way for her. That day I realized that life is full of challenges and obstacles. It’s us who have to become the warrior and throw challenges down the basket.